This pie takes its cues from the classic Italian savory dish called torta pasqualina, which is traditionally eaten around Easter time. This recipe is untraditional in that filo pastry is used and top is left open (akin to a galette), but it is still bountiful with the greens and creamy ricotta that we expect in an easter pie. The key feature of torta pasqualina is the eggs baked inside – here, eggs are baked whole within the greens so when you cut into the pie, you can see egg sliced through the middle. The result is a beautiful pie, that as perfect for weeknight dinner as it is for a celebration.
I enjoy this pie served with a Panzanella salad.
2 bunches greens of choice (kale, cavolo nero, chard)
extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
sea salt and black pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
375g (1 1/2 cup) whole milk ricotta
sea salt and black pepper
8 eggs, divided
4 tbsp butter, melted
12 sheets filo pastry
120g haloumi cheese, grated
toasted white sesame seeds
Prepare your greens: remove the leaves from the stalks and set aside. Trim the brown bits off the end of the stalks and finely slice them. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Drop in the green leaves and cook until just wilted and bright green – this should only take 30-60 seconds. Drain and refresh under some cold water. Leave to drain. Scrunch the leaves into balls to expel as much water as possible and then chop up roughly.
Heat a skillet on medium. Drizzle with olive oil, add the onion and chopped stalks, season with sea salt and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and green leaves and stir for 1 minutes until combined. Remove from the heat and transfer to a mixing bowl.
Grate some fresh nutmeg over the greens and add the ricotta, stirring to combine. Season generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, tasting to make sure it has enough flavour. Add 4 of the eggs and combine well.
Preheat oven to 375˚F / 190˚C. Brush some oil over a baking tray that is approximately 25cm x 35cm (the MUD Australia Slice Tray is perfect).
On a clean surface, lay out one sheet of filo pastry, brush with melted butter, and top with another sheet. Continue brushing with butter and layering the filo pastry until you have used 6 sheets. Lay this pastry onto the tray, so it covers half of it – you want the pastry to hang over the sides so you can fold it over to enclose the edge of the pie. Now prepare the remaining 6 sheets of filo in the same way, buttering and layering. Lay this pastry across the other half of the tray, so that the base is completely covered.
Pour the filling into the pastry and spread it out evenly. Using a spoon or spatula, make four divots in the greens mixture and break one egg into each well. Scatter the haloumi over the whole pie, including the eggs, and season with some freshly ground black pepper. Fold the edges over to enclose the pie. Brush the filo edge with butter and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and nigella seeds. Place on the bottom shelf of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the filo is golden, and the greens are just set.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Slice into squares and serve with a side salad.
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